Under the Influence of Fracking?

In addition to the environmental and health threats posed by gas drilling, driving on PA roadways is also becoming more dangerous. 

The Pennsylvania State Police and the Department of Environmental Protection announced that during an October three-day joint safety enforcement operation, three out of every four drilling wastewater hauling trucks stopped were cited for safety violations.  Out of 1,175 trucks inspected, 207 were so dangerous they were immediately placed out of service, and 52 drivers were driving illegally. Here in Lycoming County, the record was even worse than the state-wide figures. Of the 340 vehicles inspected, 85% (289) were issued citations and 55 (nearly 1 in 5) were immediately taken off the road.

These are the trucks you see on the highway as you travel in the family car. These are the trucks that share PA’s back roads with busloads of school children.

This is an ongoing problem the drilling industry doesn’t seem to want to fix. Each drilling site requires upwards of 2,000 trucks hauling gravel, water, and chemicals in and toxic wastewater out.

As the industry pockets billions in profits, these vehicle fines are not much different from the DEP fines levied for illegal dumping and other environmental violations – just a part of the cost of business as usual.

PA’s Department of Environmental Protection Releases Video of Gas Leaks

This video is a bit slow to load but is worth watching if you have not had the opportunity to see a well pad or a leaky well.

http://pahomepage.com/fulltext/?nxd_id=161487&shr=addthis

Seeing Gas Drilling’s Ugly Side Firsthand

The following is a blog – a personal perspective –  on visiting Dimock, PA and seeing for the first time gas drilling’s impact on that area. After taking the last couple of weekends to travel around PA to see this sort of thing for myself I know how scary and powerful it can be. This blog is well done and I wanted to share it with all of you. Thanks for the link Anne!

Visiting Dimock, Seeing Gas Drilling’s Ugly Side Firsthand

Kate Sinding
Senior Attorney, New York City
Posted April 15, 2010 in Curbing Pollution

Like so many who have been following controversial gas drilling issues in the Northeast’s Marcellus Shale region (the geological formation that stretches from West Virginia to upstate New York), I have been hearing and reading about, and seeing images of, Dimock, PA for the past roughly year-and-a-half.  For those not in the know, Dimock has become the unfortunate poster child for all that can go wrong when industrial gas drilling in the Marcellus isn’t adequately regulated and companies make mistakes.  Residents have experienced the wide array of adverse effects associated with shale gas production – many of them, it should be noted, inherent in the activity even under the best of circumstances. These impacts include: exploding water wells, contaminated water supplies necessitating daily fresh water deliveries (complete with home invasion in order to accept the regular deliveries), rural landscapes utterly transformed into industrial zones, constant diesel fumes, 24-hour-a-day traffic and noise that literally shakes the walls of homes.

I finally had the opportunity to visit Dimock in person earlier this week.  This is the first of a series of posts that I’ll file giving some of my impressions.  I’m doing this not because I have something new or unique to offer, but because the experience so affected me.  And the people who invited me into their homes deserve to have their stories told. I have been working on the Marcellus Shale gas drilling issue for about two-and-a-half years, but as much as I have read, listened to stories, seen photos and video footage and talked about the potential adverse impacts, nothing can compare to seeing, hearing and smelling them live….

Only when you’re standing in the front yard of someone’s dream home – which was once surrounded only by their residential neighbors and farms – and see, hear, smell and feel the vibrations of the incessant truck traffic that passes at all hours of the day and night can you truly understand how transformative it is when gas production arrives in a community.  Only when you hear the constant industrial noise from every direction as new well pads are cleared, well bores drilled and then fracked – noise that likewise exists around the clock – can you comprehend how those whose lives have already been turned upside down by drilling gone wrong can never escape the constant auditory reminders.  And only when you stand in the backyard of a family who moved to the beautiful Dimock countryside after their last home burned to the ground and see the well pads to both their immediate left and right does it become clear that – even if everything had gone “right” – this family now lives in an industrial zone….

Visiting  Dimock, Seeing Gas Drilling’s Ugly Side Firsthand

To read the full blog, see photos and read others’ reactions to the blog, click here:

http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/ksinding/visiting_dimock_seeing_gas_dri.html